F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 2 Early Bets for Japanese Grand Prix (Sunday, September 24)

F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 2 Early Bets for Japanese Grand Prix (Sunday, September 24) article feature image

Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images. Pictured: F1 driver Liam Lawson of New Zealand

Before we jump into this week's F1 Japanese Grand Prix that takes place early Sunday morning (1 a.m. ET, ESPN2), let's first revisit last week's race.

Unfortunately, my analysis for that race preview was largely on point, but it just didn’t work out in the end.

George Russell was up big on Charles Leclerc before crashing on the final lap, and a poor qualifying effort for Oscar Piastri took him out of contention for a top 6 finish despite having a strong race pace in Singapore.

Even so, the Aussie was still able to take home a seventh-place finish, just one spot from us being able to cash it as a winner.

The one thing I was wrong on, however, was the strength of the Ferrari. I did not expect Carlos Sainz to win since I believed that Singapore was not a good fit for the Ferrari vehicle. That didn’t stop them, however, and they ran 1-2 much of the race with Sainz ending up victorious.

Japan is a much more balanced track than Singapore, and it requires maximum downforce. Suzuka does have high lateral and vertical loads, which requires durable tires. This circuit is one of the toughest on tires on the entire calendar, which once again plays towards Ferrari’s weakness.

However, we will get to see if Ferrari have fully been able to overcome these degradation issues and if their improvements are here to stay.

With the uncertainty at the top of the grid this weekend, I am looking a little deeper in the field for my F1 Japanese Grand Prix best bets. Both of these come from mid-pack teams with which the books may not be paying as close of attention as we head into the Saturday night/Sunday morning race this weekend.

F1 Japanese Grand Prix Picks 

Liam Lawson Over Yuki Tsunoda

I typically stay away from teammate matchups, but this one appears to be a good value to me. Liam Lawson is still getting his feet wet in F1 after taking over for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, but he has impressed in his short time here.

Lawson struggled in qualifying in the Netherlands after taking over on short notice. However, he did still rally to finish 13th, ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda. In each of the last two races, Tsunoda has dropped out with mechanical issues, but it appears that Lawson has been right there with him in terms of speed.

Lawson qualified one spot behind Tsunoda at Monza and even made it to Q3 in Singapore, with Tsunoda starting 15th.

Tsunoda is obviously the more experienced driver here and should have a slight edge over the rookie, but these odds don’t seem to value Lawson’s skill enough. This should be closer to a 50/50 split rather than giving Lawson just a 40% implied chance to beat his teammate.

The Pick: Liam Lawson Over Yuki Tsunoda (+150 at BetMGM)

Esteban Ocon Points Finish

I rode the wave with Alpine a week ago in qualifying but came up just one position short. However, I do think that the Alpines remain strong at another track that requires decent downforce.

Esteban Ocon was well on his way to a top 6 finish when his day was ended by mechanical failure in Singapore. Lately, it seems like mechanical failure has been the only way of keeping Ocon out of the top 10, especially at tracks well suited to their car.

In six of the seven races that Ocon has finished since the start of May, he has finished in the top 10. The only problem is that there have been four other races in that span that he was not able to finish, either due to mechanical issues or a crash.

Ocon has finished in the top 10 in his last three career races at Suzuka, including a fourth-place finish last year.

Ocon seems to be in top form right now, and this track suits the Alpine machine very well. I look for both Ocon and Pierre Gasly to run well this weekend, but I think that Ocon has the best shot at placing his car in the points (top 10).

The Pick: Esteban Ocon Points Finish (+100 at BetMGM)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.